Jeff Merkley

Senate Republicans Reject DeVos’ Proposed Education Cuts
‘The kinds of cuts that are proposed in this budget will not occur’

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos arrives to testify on the fiscal 2018 budget request for the Education Department on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate appropriators told Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Tuesday that the Education Department’s budget request was dead on arrival in Congress, with Republicans and Democrats alike defending programs the department proposes to slash or eliminate in fiscal 2018.

At the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee, DeVos also clarified remarks she made in the House last month. She pledged Tuesday to ensure that federal school choice programs would require schools to follow laws for students with disabilities. She didn’t commit to any protections not in federal law.

Oregon Delegation Speaks Out on Portland Attack, Denounces Hate
Wyden: 'My heart goes out' to families of 2 victims killed defending women believed to be Muslim

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said the stabbings on a Portland train "must sound the alarm louder than ever about the violence that follows hate speech." (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic Oregon Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and Rep. Earl Blumenauer denounced the fatal stabbing of two men and injury of another that occurred on a commuter train in Portland on Friday. The Two men were killed, according to news reports, after trying to calm a self-proclaimed white supremacist from directing hate speech at two women who appeared to be Muslim.

The suspect, Jeremy Joseph Christian, was booked on Saturday morning in connection to the stabbing.

At Center for American Progress, a Tryout for 2020 Ideas
D.C. gathering alternates between liberal goals, Trump reaction

California Sen. Kamala Harris took aim at the administration’s approach to drug policy at Tuesday’s Center for American Progress gathering. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Potential Democratic presidential candidates took center stage Tuesday for what might prove to be the kickoff of the 2020 campaign, but the popular characterization of the progressive policy confab as a “CPAC for liberals” might have missed the mark.

The Center for American Progress’ 2017 Ideas Conference looked like the kind of muted 2020 cattle call one would expect from a gathering in the ballroom of the Georgetown Four Seasons in Washington. Missing were the raucous crowds that overtake the sprawling gathering at National Harbor for the annual Conservative Political Action Conference.

Post-Comey Senate Forecast Is Turbulent
Procedural roadblocks could set back legislative ambitions

Aides to Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer declined to comment on what steps Democrats planned to take should none of their demands on the Russia probe be met. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

BY JOE WILLIAMS AND NIELS LESNIEWSKI

A partisan standoff in the fallout of the firing of FBI Director James B. Comey could significantly stall the Senate legislative calendar, as Democrats appear ready to utilize procedural rules to coerce Republicans into acting on a number of demands.

Ellison Talks About How to Hold Officials Accountable on Health Care
Talked about recruiting new leaders

Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., led a town hall with activists on how to push back against Republican efforts to repeal the 2010 health care law. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison told Democratic activists on Tuesday that they can prevent a rollback of the 2010 health care law and push for single-payer health care.

Ellison, vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee, took part in a town hall hosted by People’s Action as part of the advocacy group’s founding convention at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation on Capitol Hill.

Photos of the Week: Senate Goes Nuclear to Confirm Gorsuch
The week of April 3 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell gives a thumbs-up on Thursday after the Senate invoked the "nuclear option" which will allow for a simple majority vote to confirm a Supreme Court justice nominee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The consideration of Neil Gorsuch to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court was front and center all week on Capitol Hill. The final vote for confirmation took place Friday morning, with Vice President Mike Pence presiding over the Senate, but the lead-up had more fireworks — with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell invoking the “nuclear option” on Thursday to lower the threshold of cloture votes needed, effectively clearing the way for Gorsuch’s approval. 

Merkley Stages 15.5-Hour Anti-Gorsuch Talk-a-Thon in Senate
Merkley’s action won’t delay procedural vote on nomination, which was already set before speech

Oregon Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley wrapped up his marathon floor speech Wednesday morning after more than 15 hours. He then gave bagels and muffins to Senate staff following the all-nighter. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Jeff Merkley staged a nearly 15½-hour long marathon speech to protest Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court, wrapping up at just before 10:15 Wednesday morning. 

The speech fell just a few minutes short of the seventh-longest Senate speech in the chamber’s history, which lasted 15 hours and 30 minutes. But Merkley’s action did not delay a procedural vote on Gorsuch, which was set before he began his speech.

Opinion: This Budget Isn’t Dead on Arrival
Trump’s budget draws the battle lines between the parties

A president’s budget sets the tone, direction and parameters of the debate over government operations and Republicans in Congress will be hard-pressed to go against a president of their own party, Allen writes. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Every year, Congress affixes the same toe tag to the White House budget within minutes of its delivery: “Dead on Arrival.”

The phrase is such a cliche, and so often repeated by members of Congress who dislike the president’s numbers, that it’s hard to find a news story about each year’s budget that doesn’t include those three words. It’s also discounted as just a “blueprint,” “a political document” or a “proposal” written for disposal. When I was a budget reporter for CQ, and at other publications, these were my watchwords.

Liberal Groups Warn Democratic Senators Over Gorsuch
Votes on SCOTUS nominee could ‘haunt them for the rest of their careers’

Liberals are pushing for Democrats such as Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin to oppose Judge Neil Gorsuch's confirmation to the Supreme Court. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Liberal groups are pushing for Democratic senators to block Judge Neil Gorsuch from the Supreme Court and say the lawmakers could pay a price if they don’t vote against him.

The groups announced the launch of a campaign called “The People’s Defense” led NARAL Pro-Choice America, MoveOn.org, CREDO, Indivisible, and the American Federation of Teachers.